Fun and games in Havana
You know, senior minister from democratic nation arrives in Havana with a huge delegation of officials and travelling media. He is given the red carpet treatment. Meets senior officials of the regime. Has his photograph taken at the Plaza de la Revolucion. Has an audience with one of the Castro brothers (it was always big brother Fidel in the good old days, of course). To appease constituents back home, the politician makes some reference to human rights. We don’t want this to be seen as a sunshine-and-daiquiri tour, after all. The Cubans respond positively. Minister goes home, satisfied at having raised the issue. Cuban dissidents continue to be harassed and intimidated. They are the lucky ones. The not-so-lucky ones get to rot in jail.
This well-rehearsed routine has been playing for nearly 50 years.
And Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, is only the latest to fall for it. Hook, line and sinker.
So, as his brief visit to Havana comes to an end, a clearly satisfied Moratinos holds an impromptu press conference with his Cuban counterpart, Felipe Perez Roque, on the lush grounds of the Spanish Embassy in Havana.
He tells reporters that relations between the Spanish and Cuban governments are now “back on track”.
Has he raised the issue of human rights, he is asked. Why, yes, Moratinos replies. I have raised the issue with Felipe.
The reporters then ask Perez Roque whether he is happy to discuss human rights with Moratinos. He replies: “We have broached the theme, and we are making progress in establishing a permanent and formal mechanism for political dialogue, which doesn't exclude the subject of international cooperation to promote human rights.”
Read that again.
Regardless of what Moratinos thinks or says, the seriously deceptive Perez Roque is not talking about discussing human right issues in Cuba. He is talking about “international cooperation to promote human rights”. You know, promoting human rights in the US. Or in Spain. Or in Hungary. In fact, promoting human rights everywhere - except in Cuba.
Yes, it’s a con.